You know… I don’t even like milk.

I can’t tell you the last time I drank a glass of plain milk. It had to be like 20 years ago. I’ll do chocolate milk occasionally, but beyond that… I just use it to wet my cereal in the mornings.

So you’d think that giving up milk products would be kind of easy for me.


Let’s back up for a few minutes here.

Our honeymoon period with Vivienne’s new reflux med dosage was apparently not meant to last. After five GLORIOUS nights of sleeping through the night, things went to hell in a handbasket again on Saturday night. At its worst period, I was awake with a refusing-to-go-back-to-sleep Vivienne from 3:45 to 6:15 a.m. It was miserable.

And last night… well, it was a different kind of shitty, but still shitty. It took her forever to actually GO to sleep in the evening; in fact, it was so much of a struggle that we eventually gave up after about an hour and a half or two hours and put her in the Rock ‘N’ Play. Which, I might add, she hasn’t slept in since she was like four weeks old. To say we took a giant leap backward is an understatement. But every time we had gotten her to sleep and then laid her down in her crib, she woke up immediately. And putting herself to sleep was NOT happening (although it did last week! she was so.good!). To be honest, it was clear she was uncomfortable. She kept doing her thing where she throws her head back and twists it to the side as far as it can go, arching her back. Until last night, I thought this was just a normal developmental thing and was her way of working up to rolling over, but then a reflux friend clued me in that this is a classic sign of discomfort. Apparently it’s their way of trying to straighten out the esophagus and keep the liquid down in their stomachs. Our pediatrician confirmed this today. Awesome.

So we put her down in the Rock ‘N’ Play. And then she proceeded to wake up probably at least once per hour for the remainder of the night. We had a really strong wind/rainstorm here last night, so we lost power around 10:30 p.m. I dragged the Rock ‘N’ Play into our room so I’d be sure to hear her without the monitor, and the poor thing, you guys. I woke up a few times throughout the night to the sound of her choking. It was never too alarming—she was always able to cough and clear it herself—but it was obvious that her reflux was bothering her in full force. And this was when she was elevated in the Rock ‘N’ Play!

Now, I remember some of you reflux moms telling me two things: 1) A Rock ‘N’ Play can be a godsend, but it can also be not-the-best thing because it forces an infant’s legs into a bent position, which places more pressure on the abdomen and can aggravate reflux. And 2) Swaddling can also aggravate reflux. Right now, we’re still doing the one-arm-out swaddle. So who knows. Maybe I need to experiment with these things again. I’m hoping to put her back in her crib tonight with the reflux wedge, even though she slides all over the place with it in there.

To make matters worse, I heard her develop some nasal congestion around 3-4:00 a.m. this morning. I literally heard it. It wasn’t there one moment, and then the next, I could hear it in her breathing. And colds? They make reflux worse.

We’re batting 1,000 over here.

I called the pediatrician this morning and they had us bring her in again. I had a lengthy talk with the doctor about where we go from here. The problem right now is this stupid cold and its sudden onset. Given that our sleeping issues began on Saturday, I’m inclined to think the cold is not the main culprit here, but the pediatrician said that we can’t really begin to pinpoint the cause of the problem until the cold is gone… because it could, in fact, just be the cold.

BUT… we are upping her medication again. The goal with any reflux medicine is to give the baby the lowest amount possible to keep them comfortable, while obviously staying below the maximum amount allowed for their weight. The doctor calculated that we could actually give Vivienne up to 1.9mL per dose (twice a day), and her current dose—determined last week—is 1.2mL. She told me to go ahead and make a big jump with it tonight—1.7mL—given that she’s sick and sometimes it takes more meds to get them comfortable when they’re sick. So we’re going to see how that goes and adjust accordingly.

Not just that, though. I’m also giving up dairy.


Actually, I don’t have to give up all dairy, just milk products. Milk, yogurt, butter, CHEESE. Ohmygod, cheese. This is going to be problematic and an extreme inconvenience, for sure. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

But my MAIN concern? The reason I want to cry when we talk about the possibility of Vivienne having an intolerance for milk products that will subsequently result in me cutting them out of my diet? It’s because of my STASH, people. I have more than 630 ounces of beautiful liquid gold taking up some serious real estate in our deep freezer. Six hundred and thirty ounces that I have worked hard for, by the way. Because pumping? I hate it. If it turns out that Vivienne DOES do better without my eating dairy, and we have to continue this way… this milk will basically be useless to me. I will die.

In all seriousness, worst case scenario, I will donate it. I would at least want SOMEONE to reap the benefits of it. But I definitely NEEDED my freezer stash as I got into the later months of breastfeeding with Nora, so I am sort of freaking out about having to give it up, too. I’m going to hang on and see what happens, though. I won’t cross that bridge until I actually get to it.

So let’s get back to this “no milk products” thing. I asked a few questions about it to the pediatrician but now I have even more questions. Like… OK, pancakes and waffles are made with milk. Can I not have those since there is milk in them? And… homemade cookies. Can I not have those because they are made with butter? I’m assuming that the answer to these questions is NO, but in that case… ohmygod THE HORROR. For now, the doctor told me to stick to “obvious” dairy, but… butter is butter, even in a cookie, I’m assuming. So is that “obvious” dairy? These are the things I do not know.

I need tips from the moms who have done this cutting-out-milk-products thing.

And I also need sleep. Sleep would be good.


18 Responses to Milk Be Gone

  1. Letitia says:

    My daughter had an intolerance to tomatoes – anything tomatoes – no pizza, no spaghetti, no sauces. Even a bite would bother her. I had to get rid of about 100 ounces of milk – nothing like yours but I still wanted to cry when I poured it out. Thankfully about 6 months later she outgrew it and I could again enjoy pizza, spaghetti and tomatoes in general. I almost wondered if I had saved that milk if she would have been able to drink it without any issues. It may be worth keeping to find out?

  2. Cara says:

    I commented on Facebook earlier today. Don’t worry over your milk just yet. Like I said I initially cut out obvious dairy (butter, milk, yogurt). Then, when it didn’t help, I cut out anything with hidden dairy (most processed foods). That didn’t help my daughter either. So, now I’m back to a normal diet. Look at Pinterest for help if you go completely dairy free. My daughter sounds a lot like yours except we have always had hours and hours of crying. Most babies with allergies have additional symptoms. Look at kellymom. A GI can also test for blood in her stool even microscopic. Since dairy takes a while to get out of your system and hers. A quick solution is to try a hypoallergenic formula for 5-7 days while you continue to pump. Then, you’d know you’re on the right track. Idk how you feel about that but several doctors suggested it to me as well. Although after two months of diet changes and a hospital stay last week, we stilldont have answers.

  3. Melissa says:

    I had to cut out all dairy with my daughter because she would get the most awful, bleeding diaper rashes. At first I cut out all milk products, even in packaged things where the milk was such a small percentage of the total that it didn’t even have to be listed as an ingredient. That helped her immediately, so then I tried just sticking to the obvious dairy and her rash immediately came back, so back to no diary I went! Good news though, when she was about 7 months old, she mostly grew out of it and I could eat some dairy. I’m not going to lie, it sucked big time and like you, I had to do the no dairy thing before the holidays. Basically I could eat nothing at big Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and desserts were totally ruined for me. I ended up mostly fixing really simply dinners with a meat and veggie most nights, but when I wanted to cook something with dairy I used substitutes. I liked coconut milk the best for substituting in recipes and then would do a mix of applesauce and coconut oil for butter in baking. If you do end up needing to stay away from dairy, maybe you could save your stash in hopes that she grows out of it?

  4. Amanda S. says:

    Oh my goodness, bless y’all’s hearts. Smh I totally can feel your pain. My 2nd son was exactly was this way except he had projectile spit up all. the. time. We couldn’t even keep him in clothes it was so bad. He was put on Axid and it only cut it in half. If he laid flat, it was bad I was afraid he would aspirate. We got a Nap Nanny, he still had reflux by atleast he was inclined on a harder type foam and didn’t put his legs into his chest like the rock in play. Around 5-6m it just subsided and he was good. You CAN NOT put it in a crib tho.

  5. Kate A says:

    My son had issues with dairy so I had to cut it out of my diet. But two positive things – 1. There are so many alternative milk products that you can use for pancakes, cookies , cereal etc including hemp, oat, flax, and almond milk. We have played around with different types and our son transitioned from breastmilk to hemp (instead of cow’s milk and we did this mostly for health reasons which brings me to my point two). 2. I started reintroducing dairy around 9 months and it didn’t seem to bother him – I didn’t go crazy with it but had some here and there and he was ok. Maybe this will be the case with you and your pumping will not have been in vain (because that would totally suck if it can’t be used).

  6. Melissa Dell says:

    I’ve been tweeting you too but finally read this so chiming in. I don’t think my son had as rough a go as V but we cut dairy out pretty early so I’m not sure how much it would havve progressed if we kept doing milk. I started buying the pancake/waffle mixes where you have to add milk. And then I used almond milk. First I bought vanilla almond milk but in some things (ie, any type of cereal that’s already sweet) it was TOO sweet. Gross sweet.

    But it works awesome in pancakes. Cookies, I know I’ve seen someone on IG post a pic of pillsbury break-a-part dair yfree ones but I’ve never seen them in my store. You can use coconut oil instead of butter.I just bought a container last week but havent’ tried that yet.

    Keep your stash. It can stay frozen for 6 months. Hopefully these babies (I’m including my son, Luke) will outgrow it and we can use that milk for them. I didn’t have as much saved, but I had a good amount and had to start saving back up agai nfor when I went back to work. Meh. Good luck! And if you have a Sprouts/Whole Foods – check them for a lot of vegan options for cheese. Daiyo is a brand and I bought their cheddar to use for my tacos. It’s a bit expensive but I only use it on that. I MISS GRILLED CHEESE!!!!

  7. chelseykm says:

    Heather, I’m so sorry you are struggling with sleep! First of all, you can still make your pancakes, I recommend almond milk. In place of butter try coconut oil. You can find alternatives that are just as good for most things, except cheese, there is just nothing better than real cheese. Second, have you thought about trying other methods to help with the reflux? I’ve heard great things about the chiropractor. Also, doTERRA makes an oil blend that’s supposed to be great for that and I’d be happy to send you a sample. Check out testimonials here:

    (click on the “especially for kids” tab)

  8. Sue says:

    I have a 3.5 month old baby girl who has a dairy intolerance (and a 2.5 year old boy who I nursed who I didn’t have this problem with- I’ve loved reading your blog and having kiddos that are around the same age!). I’ve been dairy free since she was 6 weeks old and I am off of ALL dairy. I got a list of “hidden dairy” items from kellymom and I follow that. We knew that dairy was a problem because of non-stop crying and bloody, mucusy poops. My kiddo reacts even to the smallest amount of dairy (I accidentally had a couple slices of bread made with less than 2% of milk in the entire loaf a week ago and her poops turned mucusy immediately and it was obvious her belly was upset; oops!). Getting used the dairy free diet takes about a week or two- once you “know” what things you can eat- and what brands to buy!- it becomes pretty easy. I have the admit that I only really, really miss one thing- pizza! I am a huge cheese lover, but I really don’t miss it on my sandwiches/tacos/etc. It’s amazing what you can get used too! Hopefully dairy isn’t your problem. I think it took almost a week on the diet before I started seeing a decrease in fussiness/tummy upset and then another week or two before her poops were better. Good luck and if you have any specific questions, feel free to email me! (P.S.- I also have a milk stash from before I knew she had the allergy and I am keeping it in the hopes that she will outgrow the allergy soon and I’ll be able to use that milk. I would hold onto your stash for a while because she could be over the allergy in just a couple months! A lot of moms I know were able to go back on dairy when their kids were between 6 and 9 months old.)

  9. Kristi N says:

    Dairy is dairy is dairy. . .amount is irrelevant, really. I wish you the best going dairy-FREE! So many wonderful substitutes- it can be done!

  10. Michelle says:

    I’m sorry you’re struggling with this! Don’t dump your stash just yet – you may be able to use that stash when she’s a little older and/or closer to one! So maybe mark them so you know which ones are which… With that said, I cut dairy to help Jules and see if he would sleep better through the night. It didn’t work, so I went back to my regularly scheduled program of eating what I wanted to eat. He eventually outgrew it and was sleeping well again. Colds definitely messed things up. He also was pretty intolerant of spicy foods or lots of garlic or onion. That seemed to do a number on his tummy. Every littler person is different – I hope you find the solution soon!

  11. Dani says:

    We are a non-dairy household; hubby has had a life-threatening dairy allergy to casein & whey (hidden dairy culprits in many prepackaged foods, even tortilla chips, salami, etc.).

    Wegmans is great for dairy alternatives. Our shopping list consists of Fleischmann’s brand margarine as a butter replacement; Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative (it actually melts!!!) instead of buying brick cheese; Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan grated Parmesan cheese; soy or almond milk (taste test until you find something your family likes); silk greek yogurt (best tasting non-dairy greek yogurt); and for some pantry/freezer staples wegmans brand frozen blueberry waffles (these are non-dairy) and Krusteaz honey wheat pancake mix (also non-dairy). I’ve also seen cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta non-dairy substitutes in the health food & ethnic food refrigerator sections, though we haven’t tried them yet.

    Once you have these staples your cooking style/recipe collection will not really need to change; you just sub in your non-dairy product in place of the dairy. I’ve found the recipes from dairy-free cookbooks tend to be pretty bland (we own a ton so don’t make my mistake, use the library first), so I’ve taken to cooking “normally” but with non-dairy products. If you do decide to buy prepacked foods though, do not trust labels that say non-dairy or vegan without reading the ingredients–many of these still have amounts of casein/whey, meaning they are vegetarian, not dairy-free/vegan. Good luck!

  12. kim says:

    my son is 7 months and he has struggled with reflux since the day he was born. it has resulted in food aversion (screaming even looking at the bottle), low weight (hasn’t gained for almost 2 months….actually now he’s losing weight). we’ve been on medication since he was 1 month (started with zantac, switched to prevacid, then to prilosec, then back to prevacid. also tried bethanechol). we tried rice cereal in a bottle and spoon feeding it. we haev done a lot of tests including barium swallow test (2x!) and also tested his stool multiple times. we have gone to doctors almost every week of his life, sometimes multiple times a week. we even went to see a chiropractor! I have gotten off dairy for months and months (not 100%, I still eat some processed food, but i would say 95% of the way). he has a severe gag reflex as a result of his reflux as well. he’s 7 months and can hardly take a spoonful of solid without crying, spitting it out, gagging, and/or throwing up. and also developmental delays because he could not stay on his tummy for tummy time for the longest time without immediately throwing up. he would projectile throw up every day of his life. he would sometimes get better and i would see the light at the end of the tunnel, and then he would get worse than he had ever been. it’s been a long long cycle. he’s just gone through a month of sickness (his reflux gets worse when he’s sick and he takes longer to get better) and finally seems like he’s taking his food again and not throwing up. but it’s just been a few days so i’m not keeping my hopes up that it’s over until later on.

    what have i learned through all of this? (1) if she’s eating well, gaining weight, then not sleeping through the night should be the least of your concerns. trust me, it can be significantly worse. i seriously spent days and nights crying because i simply couldn’t feed my son. i would have easily given up his sleeping through the night just so he would eat and gain weight! actually i am giving up sleeping through the night because now i’ve resorted to feeding him in the middle of the night to add a few ounces and hope that he will gain weight. (2) if medication helps, do it! you may want to consider prevacid. from reading online, i know that it helps A LOT of people. you may want to get the compounded version though because it’s liquid like zantac. If not, you get the tablets that you will have to dissolve into granules to give to your baby. i could never get that to work, especially with my son’s hatred of medicines, and his gag reflex. i know for many prevacid was the miracle drug for them. (3) illnesses definitely aggrevates the reflux. our son has been sick on and off when in daycare, and each time, it’s really hard for him to get over the illness, and also go back to his “normal” throw up amount (4) reflux can be cyclical. we’ve seen him get better, then revert back to worse. (5) do what you can to help as well. elevate her crib. sit her up or hold her after eating for a little bit. (6) cutting out dairy may help. our son is only enfamil gentlease which is still dairy based, but broken down a little. i’ still pump but signficantly less amounts so i have to supplement. i went off dairy for awhile. we tested his blood and stool and got back results that he did not have a dairy allergy. so i went back on dairy. big mistake. I’m pretty sure that contributed to his developed food aversion where he would scream just looking at the bottle! I went back off dairy and it seemed to help a little. so even though the tests do not see an allergy to dairy, i do think he has a SENSITIVITY to dairy. i’m still off of it (and i miss it :(). (8) rice cereal in bottle may help for you. it didn’t for me. (9) THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. I hope. THat’s what everyone tells me. But in honesty, there is. I can say that at 7 months, he is a lot better than when he was younger. we can work on him with tummy time. we do have to be careful though and won’t try until about 1 hour after eating. but he will still throw up on his tummy from time to time….but we need to because he still can’t sit up at 7 months because he couldn’t get started on tummy time for a LONG time since he used to throw up as soon as we placed him down. Now he will be seeing an occupational therapist to help with his delays. I’m praying he rids of his reflux by 9 months!

  13. Kristen says:

    Wow, great job mama saving all of that milk! Would you ever post some tips on how you did it? I’m having a hard time producing just enough to get though the day and I have to go to work soon :( Good Luck!

    • Hi Kristen!
      I wouldn’t be against doing a post, except I don’t really know what I could offer. I’ve been blessed with a good supply–an oversupply, even. I took advantage early this time, starting pumping once a day when Vivienne was only one week old. I would pump after her first morning feeding, and in the beginning, was banking anywhere from 7-12 ounces a day just from that pumping alone. I kept up that once-a-day pumping through my entire 12-week maternity leave. Once I already had a great freezer stash and Vivienne started going to bed in the early evening, I started pumping before bed instead. Now, I still pump every night before I go to bed just so I’m not going so long between feedings (when she sleeps… which hasn’t been a problem this week, unfortunately, WAHH!). When I’m working, I pump twice a day at work, too. So no real tricks, except for getting a stash started early and keeping up with it.

  14. I haven’t responded individually to comments in this post, but I wanted to make sure to put out there… THANK YOU! I have read and appreciate every comment. It’s going to be a big adjustment but I’m trying my best. Fingers crossed it helps our girl, because the last couple of nights have continued to be terrible.

Leave a Reply